CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
The recent launch of the GM Shop-Click-Drive program is an indication of how far the automotive industry has come. As automotive customers have increasingly started using online methods to search for information about vehicles, parts, reviews and safety ratings, the automotive industry has progressed similarly.
Automotive dealerships now provide detailed websites, email marketing newsletters and social media pages for their customers. And now, with Shop-Click-Drive, you can complete the entire process of buying a vehicle online. One thing, however, has not changed. Automotive customers expect a friendly, comprehensive and individual customer experience when purchasing a vehicle.
Whether they are seeking vehicles online or in the dealership, customers want to know all the relevant information that will assist them to make a choice. How much is it? What is its safety rating? I want it in red... does your dealership currently have that color in stock? From the routine to the unusual, customers require information of all sorts before they select a vehicle. And they don't want to wait.
Automation software is designed to quickly respond to customers' needs even if a salesperson is not available. Automating certain processes allows a great salesperson to do their job even more effectively and focus on providing quality customer service.
The Shop-Click-Drive program, for example, aims to “combine the convenience of online shopping with the personal service of a neighborhood dealership,” according to GM's vice president of US sales operations, Kurt McNeil. Customers want an easy, time-saving vehicle selection process yet they also want the expertise and assistance of an automotive salesperson.
Automation software can do more than just provide customers with relevant information, however. As each customer enters their vehicle information and preferences, the software is collecting a wealth of data about each individual customer. This data can, of course, be used to automatically send vehicle information packages to the customer based on their specifications yet it can also help dealership staff to stay connected with customers after the initial purchase.
After a customer buys a vehicle, when they need routine maintenance or wish to purchase accessories, they often seek these products and services at locations other than the dealership where they made the original purchase. The decision to look elsewhere may be based on lower prices, better customer service, a special promotion or other reasons.
The element that entices customers to return to the original dealership time after time is excellent personalized customer service. Customers desire a one-on-one connection. And here, automation software can help salespeople build customer loyalty and increase repeat visits.
Based on the initial data gathered at the time of purchase, automation software can make it simple for salespeople to connect with each customer and meet their unique needs. Messages can be automatically sent to customers by text messaging, email or even voicemail with personalized automotive campaigns designed to foresee their individual needs.
Personalized messages can include:
Once the salesperson tells the automated system how they want campaigns to be sent out, the software handles the rest. In one day, a single salesperson is able to connect with hundreds of customers! The automation software will filter customers to see who should receive which messages, and will send messages over the mode of communication that the customer has selected.
Automation software helps salespeople to be more efficient and reach out to more customers on an individual level, without adding more manual work to the salesperson's day. Maintaining a consistent personal level of engagement with customers boosts loyalty and entices customers to return to their original place of purchase for additional products and services.
Automation software, in short, allows dealership staff to provide more without doing more. You already work hard, so let automation assist you to make the most of your workday.